What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition where our bones loose mass and strength as the minerals leach out of them. A fall then results in broken bones. It is associated with ageing and a bone density scan will show any thinning, which you can then work to rectify.
We start loosing bone mass in our 30s, and it is especially worse for women after they reach menopause.
There are no obvious signs or symptoms, until even a small fall will break a bone.
What can I do to make my bones stronger?
To improve bone density most doctors will tell you to eat more dairy foods, or take calcium supplements.
Unfortunately the calcium is more liable to be laid down in your blood vessels and heart muscles than your bones.
This will cause your vessels to stiffen and block, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
It can also cause kidney stones. 1
Getting calcium from drinking more milk is not good idea as milk can cause autoimmune disease and some forms of cancer. 2
Over 5 years ago it was becoming obvious that the risk of taking calcium supplements far outweighed the small amount it may do to strengthen bones .
Long- term studies show that there is no increase in bone density by eating dairy foods. 4
Rather surprisingly, the countries with the lowest dairy intake also have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. 5
Doctors might also suggest drugs to slow down the rate bone cells are broken down and excreted.
Unfortunately these have very serious side effects-jaw bone death, liver damage, increased risk of cancer and heart attack, and possible blindness.
But worse is that it doesn’t make your bones stronger, only denser, which is not the same thing.
Bone cells are constantly breaking down and being replaced with new cells to keep it strong. Fosamax et al only kill the cells that break bone down, the new strong cells are not being formed.
Your doctor will also recommend taking calcium supplements. Bone is made from a dozen different minerals, calcium is only one of them. Taking calcium supplements throws off the mineral balance, making bones weaker.
Elderly patients who fractured bones had significantly lower levels of vitamin C in their blood than those who haven’t incurred a fracture, so it makes sense to supplement. 5
K2 supplements drive the calcium out of the arteries into your bones, survival rate after a fracture in post menopausal women.
A more beneficial supplementation regimen should include Vitamin C, Vitamin K2, vitamin D3 ( in winter months, sun in summer) and boron, silica and magnesium. These are all far more vital in preventing fracture and keeping bone healthy than calcium. They will also take the calcium out of your arteries and into your boned, where it belongs.
Foods high in boron include: chickpeas, almonds, beans, vegetables, bananas, walnuts, avocado, broccoli, prunes, oranges, red grapes, apples, raisins, pears, and many other beans and legumes.
Eat and juice, more veggies to get more vitamins and minerals.
Eat small fish and their bones, eg whitebait, sardines, anchovies.
Avoid gluten, it has been shown to decrease bone density. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt.
Make your own broth from left over meat carcasses and veggies. Cover a chicken carcass with water, add celery, onion, garlic [lots of garlic, it’s so good for you!] bring to the boil, then simmer for a couple of hours. I add a little apple cider vinegar that helps leach the minerals out of the bones .Add salt, pepper and spices, reduce, remove bones, liquidise the rest [yes including the cartilage]. Either drink it as a chicken broth, or use as a stock for other soups. Freeze some for another day.
Apart from the calcium it also gives magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons– chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine.
These minerals are more easily absorbed by your body when taken as a broth.
Avoid sodas and sugars as they deplete your bone’s minerals.
Steroids increase your risk for osteoporosis, so avoid them.
Supplement with K2 if you are not getting enough from food alone. The dose is about 185 mcg per day.
You might have to cut down your animal protein intake if it is excessive as it causes your body to excrete more calcium.
For example, a person eating 142 grams of protein a day will excrete twice as much calcium in their urine as a person taking in a more moderate 47 grams.
Exercise, especially strength training as it makes the bones stronger. If you don’t like the gym and your back is strong, put some heavy books in a back pack and go for a walk
Natural progesterone , made from yams, increases bone strength, This should not be put on the skin, but the labia.
Avoid alcohol as experiments with mice show it depletes bone density. 7
According to Dr Thompson and Kathleen Barnes in ‘The Calcium Lie’ the biggest cause of bone loss is the lack of sea salt, or presumably Himalayan mountain salt, in our diet. Before the invention of refrigeration to keep food from going off it was heavily salted to preserve it. The salt had many trace minerals in it that strengthen our bones. The book suggests that we should liberally eat Celtic sea salt every day. Not any old salt will do, it must be one with an abundance of minerals in it-manganese, magnesium, boron, copper, silicon, iron and nickel, to name a few.
Fennel seeds show potential in preventing bone loss in postmenopausal osteoporosis.8
Silica and magnesium, are also important as it is thought that they change into the kind of calcium your bones needs.
Good sources of silica are bell peppers, tomatoes, and a number of herbs including horsetail, nettles, cucumbers. The absolute best source of magnesium is raw organic cacao.
The advice from my wonderful Chinese acupuncturist was to eat walnuts and goji berries, so I have added those to my diet.
I just read today that a Greek study agrees with him, saying they think ellagic acid is responsible for this.9 The bitter papery part around the walnut is where 90% of the walnuts antioxidants are stored, so eat that as well. Once shelled ,all nuts, and oils, turn rancid very fast, so keep them in the fridge or freezer. Scatter them on salads, add to smoothies, put them in baked goods, use as a crust on fish or meat, or just as a snack.
Buy nuts that are organic and raw, and have not been irradiated or heated so the goodness in them has been destroyed.
It is very important to keep your body alkaline.You can test your saliva our urine with litmus paper or a lab stick. Your blood’s ph tends to be stable, to do this it may leach minerals from your bones, according to the expert Dr Anna Cabeca .
Eat alkalising foods like fruit and vegetables. Drink a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar although they are acidic they make the body more alkaline in small doses.
Reduce all kinds of meats, fowl and refined sugars and flours. Protein intake should be approximately 40-50 grams daily. These foods make the body more acidic.
Bicarbonate of soda can be used for a short time only.
A combination of these things should strengthen our bones and stop incapacitating fractures, osteoporosis does not have to be an inevitable part of aging!
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5  Falch. 1998. “low levels of serum ascorbic acid in elderly patients with hip fracture.” Scand J Clin Lab Invest May 58(3): 225-8
Bone mineral density is higherwho supplement with vitamin C.
Morton D. 2001. “Vitamin C supplement use and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women” J Bone and Min Res 16(1), 135-140
6 Osteoporos Int. 2012 Mar 8. Epub 2012 Mar 8. PMID: 22398856
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Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
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